SUSU and University Release Joint Sustainability Statement

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SUSU and the University of Southampton have released a joint statement of intent on our commitment to sustainability, minimising our impact on global ecological destruction and stabilising climate change.

  • We commit to prioritising together sustainable actions to address urgent environmental issues using the passion, creativity and scholarship of our students and staff to find new, lasting solutions.
  • The whole University community will work together to slow significantly and ultimately minimise our impact on the environment.
  • We are setting ambitious targets to reduce our impact on the environment. We will lead by example, and we will change behaviours.
  • We will co-create action plans to deliver the step change required for a sustainable future.

Next Steps

  • SUSU and the University are in the process of developing and consulting on an overarching Environment & Sustainability Strategy which will be published in 2020. This will be reviewing staff and student travel, University investments, impacts of research as well as estates and facilities building programmes and energy efficiency.
  • Our action plans will be published over the next year and will focus on all areas of our activity and will become fully embedded within everything we do.
  • On Wednesday 4 December we will be running our Sustainability Spotlight event from 13:00 – 18:00 at SUSU. This will comprise of talks from academics on issues such as our oceans, renewable energy and community action as well as a fair bringing together a range of sustainability projects and initiatives at SUSU and the University, student groups and local charities and organisations. You can find out more in our event here: Sustainability Spotlight
  • SUSU Student Sustainability Forum. This will be a regular forum to discuss ideas, find solutions and implement change related to sustainability open to all students. The first one of these will take place at the Sustainability Spotlight event on 4 December16:30 – 18:00 at SUSU.
  • The Environment and Sustainability Steering Group. This coordinates activity across the University and has developed a series of workshops, initiatives and activities to reduce our impact on the environment – get involved.
  • The Vice-Chancellor is visiting all parts of the University over the coming months to hear from staff and students, and you can contact him directly at emailthevc@soton.ac.uk.
  • We ask all staff and students to examine their own actions and decisions to ensure they understand the impact they are having environmentally and have consciously evaluated the harms and benefits of their decision making.

What have SUSU and the University already achieved for sustainability?

  • This September SUSU launched The Plant Pot, the first solely vegan and vegetarian outlet on campus. As well as offering delicious food, The Plant Pot also has a zero waste shop and sustainable lifestyle items available to buy.
  • We signed the Southampton Green City Charter. As part of this we are committed to working with the City Council towards their ambition of being carbon neutral by 2030. You can find the full charter here.
  • We have also recently signed the Sustainable Development Goals Accord which pledges to embed SDGs into our education, research, leadership, operations, administration and engagement activities.
  • Together we have also recently introduced a number of food waste reduction initiatives. Anyone experiencing financial difficulties can get a voucher from Enabling Services or The Advice Centre to get a free hot meal in the Staff Terrace, Piazza or Avenue Cafe. Free sandwiches leftover from University outlets are also available every Friday in the reception area of SUSU.
  • The Shop at SUSU runs a One by One sustainable range, including bamboo toothbrushes, metal straws, eco-friendly cleaning items and more. Cotton tote bags are available in The Shop as an alternative for plastic carrier bags.
  • All SUSU outlets have stopped printing paper receipts unless requested by the customer, and we have changed our policy regarding hot drinks. There is now a higher charge for hot drinks purchased in a single-use paper cup. You can now bring in a reusable cup of any brand into any of our outlets to get a cheaper hot drinks price.

If you have any questions or ideas about sustainability at SUSU and the University, you can contact:

Emily Harrison, Union President – president@susu.org

Rachel Mills, Dean of Environmental and Life Sciences – sustainability@soton.ac.uk

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